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J Clin Invest. 2007 Apr;117(4):1096-106.

CD40Ig treatment results in allograft acceptance mediated by CD8CD45RC T cells, IFN-gamma, and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase.

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INSERM U643, Centre Hopitalier Universitaire de Nantes, Institut de Transplantation et de Recherche en Transplantation (ITERT), and Université de Nantes, Faculté de Médecine, Nantes, France.


Treatment with CD40Ig results in indefinite allograft survival in a complete MHC-mismatched heart allograft model in the rat. Here we show that serial second, third, and fourth adoptive transfers of total splenocytes from CD40Ig-treated recipients into secondary recipients led to indefinite donor-specific allograft acceptance. Purification of splenocyte subpopulations from CD40Ig-treated recipients demonstrated that only the adoptively transferred CD8(+)CD45RC(low) subset resulted in donor-specific long-term survival, whereas CD8(+)CD45RC(low) T cells from naive animals did not. Accepted grafts displayed increased indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) expression restricted in the graft to ECs. Coculture of donor ECs with CD8(+)CD45RC(low) T cells purified from CD40Ig-treated animals resulted in donor-specific IDO expression dependent on IFN-gamma. Neutralization of IFN-gamma or IDO triggered acute allograft rejection in both CD40Ig-treated and adoptively transferred recipients. This study demonstrates for what we believe to be the first time that interference in CD40-CD40 ligand (CD40-CD40L) interactions induces allospecific CD8(+) Tregs that maintain allograft survival. CD8(+)CD45RC(low) T cells act through IFN-gamma production, which in turn induces IDO expression by graft ECs. Thus, donor alloantigen-specific CD8(+) Tregs may promote local graft immune privilege through IDO expression.

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